News Archive

BME Design Day Highlights Research Prowess

Michelle Gary explains her research to a fellow student at BME Design Day on March 2

On March 2, posters made by 20 undergraduate biomedical engineers lined the Grand Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center for the department's fourth annual BME Design Day. More than 150 faculty and fellow students attended, including all first-years enrolled in BME 295C: Challenges in Biomedical Engineering.

The event was sponsored by W.L. Gore & Associates and featured a keynote presentation from lead engineer Rachel Rakvica on "The Value of a Biomedical Engineering Degree in Device Design." Representatives from Gore and the UA Foundation judged the poster competition.

This year's winners were:

  • First Place: Mary McIntosh for "Physiological Model for Assessing Ankle Joint Contact Pressure in Weber Fracture Malreduction"
  • Second Place: Caitlin Moffett for "TNFalpha Priming Selectively Enhances CD4+FoxP3+ Regulatory T Cell Suppressive Function"
  • Third Place: Chris Gallo for "Zinc (Zn2+) Alters Calcium Oxalate Crystal Formation in a Drosophila Model of Nephrolithiasis"
  • Most Promising Research: Summer Garland for "Augmented Microscopy with Spatial Light Modulation"
  • Most Creative Research: Tyler Toth for "Rapid Detection of Ebola Virus Surrogate Using Interfacial Tension-Based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR-IT)"

A gallery of photos taken by Mia Schnaible is available on the BME Facebook Page.

Faculty Members Urge US to Consider Cuban Medicine

Drs. David Armstrong and Marvin Slepian recently traveled to Havana to discuss the drug Heberprot-P with its inventors at the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. The medication, which is described as an "epidermal growth factor," fosters rapid wound healing and could save diabetics from amputation.

They hope that normalizing relations with Cuba will allow them to bring the drug to the U.S. for FDA trials and approval.

Read more from University of Arizona Health Sciences, Arizona Public Media and the Huffington Post.

Kudos to GPSC Student Showcase Winners

BME students made a strong showing at the UA Graduate and Professional Student Council Student Showcase on Feb. 24. Congratulations to all the exhibitors!

In particular, kudos go to David Maestas, who received the undergraduate BIO5 Innovator Award for his presentation on "Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts Seeded With Umbilical Cord Blood-Derived Endothelial Cells," and to BME GIDP student Michael Valdez, who won second place in the graduate research division.

Checking In on Capstone Projects

Team 15036 working on their senior design projectWith less than two months left until Engineering Design Day 2016, the College's seniors are hitting the home stretch on their capstone design projects – including a number of BME students working on interdisciplinary teams.

See what undergraduate biomedical engineers are doing to help astronauts breathe a little easier in "Humidity Control in Spacesuits."

Biomedical Engineering Major Makes a Splash in Mile Swim

Tyler Fowler competing in a University of Arizona swim meetJunior Tyler Fowler will compete in the U.S. Olympic trials this summer in the 1,500-meter freestyle swimming event. How does he balance academics with a rigorous training schedule? What’s his favorite class? What’s his favorite ice cream flavor?

Learn all this and more in a Q&A with Arizona Athletics.


Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Save the Date for Commencement Celebration!

Graduates in caps and gowns throw confetti at UA CommencementThe UA Department of Biomedical Engineering will hold its Pre-Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 13, at 11:30 a.m. in Crowder Hall at the Fred Fox School of Music (1017 North Olive Road).

Doors open at 11 a.m., and tickets will be available to graduating students later in the semester.

BME Junior Hacks for the Environment

UA Engineering students used MIDI and Arduino technology to turn discarded cans into a musical instrument.Biomedical engineering major Sajani Jivan helped his team win the sustainability award at Hack Arizona 2016. They created Mini Midi Recyclable, a musical instrument made out of leftover aluminum cans, Arduino microcontroller and stickers handed out by sponsors.

Read more about the project in Arizona Engineer.

UA Researchers Developing Brain-Mapping Technology

sell Witte is studying how ultrasound, commonly used for fetal imaging, can be used to capture high-resolution images of brain activity.Biomedical engineer Russell Witte is leading a $1.15 million NIH project to create a new type of imaging with the potential to advance understanding of brain function and improve diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. 

“We know very little about how neurons act collectively to guide our thoughts, emotions and behaviors – or cause seizures or mood swings,” Witte said. “Functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography have provided some clues. But both fMRI and EEG share a major limitation: They produce images with poor resolution. We think our new technology could overcome that limitation.”

The project is part of the U.S. government’s BRAIN Initiative, or Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. BRAIN involves 80 public and private research institutions working together to map the human brain and build a model that reveals how individual nerve cells and complex neural circuits interact. 

Read more in Arizona Engineer.

Slepian Named Fellow of Academy of Inventors

Dr. Marvin J. Slepian, professor of medicine and professor and associate department head of biomedical engineering, was one of 168 inventors in the 2015 class of fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Slepian is a named inventor on 52 issued patents and applications and is a co-founder of SynCardia Systems, the company that brought the total artificial heart to market. He has commercialized a range of inventions and founded other medical device companies, including Focal (NASDAQ), Hansen Medical (NASDAQ), Arsenal, 480 BioMedical and MC10. Slepian is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and current president of the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Read more in UANews.

'Star Wars' Science: How Would BB-8 Work?

The real star of the upcoming "Star Wars" movie may not be a human or a Wookie. Instead, it may be a round, 2-foot-tall astromech droid named BB-8.

It may look great on the screen, but could BB-8 exist in real life?

Associate professor Wolfgang Fink would know, as an expert in artificially intelligent Mars rovers — and as an unabashed "Star Wars" fan.

Read more on UANews.


University of Arizona College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering 1127 E James E. Rogers Way P.O. Box 210020 Tucson, AZ 85721-0020